For the longest time I was one of those people who’d say, “I could never be vegetarian – I love burgers too much.” I seriously meant it, too.
I still do love a good, juicy, greasy, cheesy burger with salty fries and a THICC vanilla shake.
What I’ve been trying to test with myself is just, if I can actually do it. If I can actually hold the willpower to avoid meat.
My old roommate was vegetarian so we rarely ever had meat in our apartment unless I bought it and cooked for myself. I was already used to making a ton of veggies, rice, pasta and carb based dishes and filling up on that and finding protein in other sources.
After making a few small lifestyle and diet changes (I say small because I already did eat really clean, I just added more vegetables), I wanted to see just how clean I could really get.
I redefined what the term “clean” meant to me, because I used to think of it as very basic, plain meals straight from the earth with little to no additives. I also defined it as “anything that doesn’t come in a box or can”. This is still VERY true to me.
But then I realized I was still eating one of the dirtiest food categories of all – meat.
Now, let me try to explain where I’m coming from without offending anyone or communicating misleading information.
We can almost never guarantee where our meat is actually from, and that just doesn’t feel… clean to me.
A great friend of mine named Leah was the main source of my urge to jump into the plant-based lifestyle. She is so well educated with this stuff and, as an Aries, well informed on the updates and important information that goes along with it all. I’ve included a little blurb that she wrote for me, because I just love the passion she uses and the way she articulates her thoughts on this matter.
(P.S Go give Leah a follow! @leahmarievoice)
“Hello everyone! I’m Leah and I have been studying where our food comes from for about six years now. If, like most people, you imagined the average American farm to be akin to the images depicted in “old McDonald had a farm” or the labels with happy cows on them often seen on milk and cheese labels, then I am sorry to reveal this truth to you.
To truly understand meat and where it comes from, we must first take a look at the dairy industry. In order for a cow to produce milk, it must be pregnant, just like any other mammal. Dairy farms have no time for cows to naturally breed, there are no male cows on a dairy farm either. Every nine months dairy cows are artificially inseminated by a large metal rod on what is known as a rape rack ( Yup! That is actually what it is called). Once the cow has given birth and her baby is immediately taken away to be sent to the slaughter house, the baby cow growth formula also known as milk, is harvested for human consumption. Because the cow’s udders are attached to an unclean metal milking machine and they are living in one of the most bacteria infested places known to the human race, they develop an infection called mastitis. This leads to blood, feces and pus entering the milk. Even after being pasteurized, the average American glass of milk has 134 million pus cells to be consumed. Not exactly what I call clean eating. This is the sad truth for mass produced dairy.
Okay so, now that we know where our meat’s moms are from and where they are born, we can talk about the slaughterhouse itself. Baby cows are loaded into compact trucks with no room at all to move. Their feces lays on top on one another and all throughout the floor that they walk through when they exit the truck. As soon as they arrive, they are dehorned and branded with a piping hot metal rod. There are no sanitary practices to address these wounds and they often become infected. Cows living in the slaughterhouse are purposefully fed food to make them overweight. They are given hormones and antibiotics to keep them from getting sick in the disgusting conditions that they live in. When the cows are slaughtered, they are slit at the throat with the same tool that has been used for the past thousands of cows. When they die, they naturally fill their bodies with every hormone that can help them express fear. All of that adrenaline and stress – and negative energy!! what we call “BAD VIBES” -(Laura) – is then ingested into a human body. The dead animal carcasses are then piled on top of one another. They are processed, packaged and filled with preservatives before they end up at the grocery store, sometimes six weeks after slaughter. Yes. We are actually being fed an animal that has been dead for over a month. Unfortunately, the process does not change much for the chickens and pigs.
What are the effects of this mass production of animal products? Well, we slaughter 56 billion animals per year. We can afford to feed and water eight times the entire human race’s population and yet there are people starving and dying of thirst. If ending world hunger is an issue, why aren’t we using our resources to feed PEOPLE rather than our meat?
This is also affecting our planet. 51% of greenhouse gas emissions are caused this industry, nearly four times as much as transportation ( this includes, planes, buses, jets, cars, etc). The meat and dairy industry are responsible for 56% of United States water consumption. It is the leading cause for species extinction, ocean dead zones, deforestation and habitat destruction. Livestock is currently taking up 45% of the Earth’s land. If you buy meat, cheese or milk you are directly supporting all of these things.
So, if the environment, the human race and the treatment of animals are all important to you, then choose not to support an industry that causes harm in all of these areas. Choose to eat clean. Your meal is much more than a slab on your plate. It is a vote towards what you believe is best for the planet, the animals and the human race.”
cowspiracy.com/thesustainabilitysecret/facts / Nutrition.org / Food Matters.
I think what’s been really eye-opening to me is how intimidated we are by “going” vegetarian. It’s not as challenging as we (myself included) used to think. It’s been so easy, and actually fun.
A lot of times, I try to make the little additions to my diet vegan. I still will eat local honey, free range (different than cage free) organic eggs, free of hormones and GMO, I still will eat fish on certain conditions, too. These are all things that I know I am doing my part in – by giving the local, ethical bee farmer my money, those dollars are taken away from the harsh and cruel mass production industry. Think of your $$ as a vote.
Your money = your vote.
But, I watch out for the sneaky, disgusting animal byproduct ingredients that hide in almost everything.
Example: gelatin. It is soooo not necessary to use animal bone marrow in marshmallows, jello, candy… you get my point. There are PROVEN alternatives for gelatin, from substances that create the SAME consistency. Example: Carrageenan seaweed extract serves the SAME EXACT PURPOSE. AS GELATIN. It can come in a powder form and be mixed into anything. It’s just without the harm of animals. And like, who wants collagen from “various animal body parts” sitting inside our bodies, anyway?
Imagine if it was human bone marrow instead?
*Try it: Trader Joe’s Vegan Marshmallows*
So in those cases, I believe in being “radically vegan” with CERTAIN ingredients and products. I source my honey straight from local farmers markets where they take care of their bees. When available, my eggs are from a local farmer literally down the street with a “Fresh Eggs” sign outside her yard. And sometimes, she’s all out of eggs. That’s how it should be. Not mass produced and jacked up with hormones to endure production.
So for me, the only time I’m not vegan is when I can still do the most ethical alternative. That’s what matters most to me. (Am I making sense here? I feel like I’m having a hard time explaining.)
I don’t know if I’ll be vegetarian for the rest of my life or just until our world wakes up from this coma of destruction. But for now, it is more crucial a time than ever to be careful with what impact, conscious with our consuming and use our sacred resources wisely. (Conscious Consumerism blog post…. coming soon.)
That is why I’ve made this choice.
(May I also add that, I’m saving money by not purchasing meat? Grocery Shopping on a Budget blog post will ALSO be coming soon.)
Everyone will have different values and means and reasons for their vegan or vegetarian diets, but nonetheless they all stem from the same measure: take better care of yourself, take better care of animals, take better care of our Earth.
Stay healthy, stay happy, stay radiant –